How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Hoover AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Hoover AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Hoover AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Hoover AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Hoover AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Hoover AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Hoover AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Hoover AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Hoover AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Hoover AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Hoover AL medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
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Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Hoover Alabama
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hoover AL.